Two-day conference to examine impact of female influx in science, engineering
Women are entering science and engineering in even greater numbers, bringing unique perspectives to traditional disciplines and helping to push the boundaries of scientific knowledge in new directions. A two-day conference to be held at Stanford March 13-14, titled "Gendered Innovations in Science and Engineering II," will explore how and why.
Presented by the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, the conference is free and open to the public. The program kicks off Thursday, March 13, at 10 a.m. with a welcome talk titled "Fixing the Knowledge" by Londa Schiebinger, director of the Clayman Institute and the John L. Hinds Professor in the History of Science. Myra Hart, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, will deliver the keynote address on Friday, March 14, at 1 p.m.
Panels will be held both days to discuss women's contributions in engineering, medicine, the environment, natural sciences and business. Panelists will include faculty from Stanford, plus scholars from around the country, scientists, business executives and experts in the field. They will include Diane Green, chief executive officer of business software leader VMware; Joyce Chung, managing director of Garage Technology Ventures; and Nancy Hopkins, the Amgen Professor of Biology at MIT.
"As more women enter science and engineering, new questions are being asked, and new solutions are being offered for old problems," said Michelle Cale, associate director of the Clayman Institute, adding that the Nintendo Wii is popular with both sexes in part because the game system was designed and promoted with females in mind. "Commercial products are changing as businesses make better use of female creative talent and as they try to meet what they perceive to be the values and needs of women as consumers. Everyone benefits, men and women."
The three panels on Thursday will be devoted to women's roles in computer gaming and virtual worlds, in engineering and in the future of science. The titles of Friday's panels are "Gender and the Environment" and "Women in Silicon Valley's Entrepreneurial Culture."
All events will be held on campus in the David Packard Electrical Engineering Building, Room 101, at 350 Serra Mall. No registration is required, and middle and high school students, teachers and parents are encouraged to attend.
At the conference, the Clayman Institute also will debut its new volume, Gendered Innovations in Science and Engineering (Stanford University Press, 2008), which is based on papers given at the first Gendered Innovations conference in 2005.
Conference co-sponsors at Stanford include Bio-X, the departments of Biology and Chemistry, the schools of Earth Sciences and Engineering, the Faculty Women's Forum, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the Office of Science Outreach and the Woods Institute for the Environment. The full schedule is available at http://www.stanford.edu/group/gender/Events/GISE2.html.
Hayley Rutger is a science-writing intern at the Stanford News Service.